Hawaii: When To Visit

It is easy deciding why to vacation in Hawaii, but choosing when to visit can be a challenge. You might ask, “Isn’t anytime a good time to visit paradise?” As a kama’aina, or someone born and raised in Hawaii, I can help answer that question. To help you decide the “best time” for you to make the trip keep these facts in mind.

Hawaii’s tourist season runs from November to February. These months are filled with holiday travelers, as well as with visitors participating in big-name events like the Honolulu Marathon and the Triple Crown of Surfing. Each draws tens of thousands of visitors to the state. To secure the best rates on airfare, hotel and rental cars, travel in the months of April-May and September-October. But you’ll want to book early as the last week in April and first week in May can be very busy in Waikiki. This is the peak season for visitors from Japan due to the Japanese “Golden Week” holidays.

Winter is also the peak season for surfing and whale watching. Winter wave swells on the North Shore of Oahu reach upwards of 30 feet and attract throngs of visitors. Peak whale watching begins in December and continues through March. Each year, Humpback whales swim more than 3500 miles from Alaska to Hawaii where they spend their winters mating and bearing their offspring.

Rainfall is heaviest between December and March. However, your location on a particular island will be a greater factor in how much rain you will see than when you visit. Every Hawaiian island has a leeward side and a windward side. The leeward side faces South or West and is hot, dry, and sunny. The windward side faces North or East and receives the trade wind flow and with it trade showers. There is more cloud cover and rain on the windward side of an island than the leeward. If your vacation centers around obtaining the perfect tan and little else, than stick to the leeward side.

Summer months in Hawaii bring with it temperatures that range from the mid to high 70’s to mid-80’s. For the windward side of most islands, summer time is mosquito time. Mosquitoes are present throughout Hawaii but are rarely an annoyance on the dry coastal areas. However, along the wet tropical Northeast coasts of the islands, mosquitoes thrive and a good repellent and mosquito screening is necessary. Hawaii is free from malaria, yellow fever and most other diseases endemic in other tropical countries.

The water temperature in Hawaii is very consistent. The year-round average water temperature is a warm 74 degrees. It can reach 80 degrees in mid-summer, which is when most families visit Hawaii. Hawaii public schools have adopted a year round calendar, which means if you are looking for empty beaches don’t visit during the students’ two to three week breaks in March, July, October, and December.

So when is the best time for YOU to visit Hawaii? You may now have the answer.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.